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The City of Portland, Oregon

Portland Water Bureau

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March 18 Update: NE 23rd Ave. and Skidmore Main Break

A replacement pipe is transported to the work site by Portland Water Bureau crews.

Water Bureau crews have completed the repair of the 30-inch water main at NE 23rd and Skidmore St. that ruptured on Saturday. The 30-inch pipe that failed is a 1915 cast iron transmission main that supplies drinking water to in-town storage facilities but does not directly provide water to customers. A final determination has not been made as to the cause of the pipe failure, but age could have been a factor. On average, Portland Water Bureau crews respond to 200 main breaks a year, which is relatively low when compared to cities of similar size.

 “This was a very rare event and the largest main break we’ve dealt with,” notes Maintenance and Construction Director Ty Kovatch. “Thank you to everyone who was affected for their patience as our crews conducted repair work.”

Property owners, residents, and businesses in the affected area who may have a potential claim can contact the City of Portland Risk Management division at (503) 823-5101.

Work remains for the Water Bureau and our partners at the Portland Bureau of Transportation who will need about one to two weeks to excavate and rebuild the road. Travelers are encouraged to avoid the area in the coming weeks as crews conduct their work.

For additional public health information related to this incident, such as how to safely dispose of water in a basement, visit

Find additional information about this main break event here.